Because of this series, I’ve often found myself in spaces where I am the odd one out. I’ve gotten mostly used to modifying in the back of a studio, while tall, fit athletic gods are front and center during a workout. But, during a recent class at Jazzercise, I really felt a bit like a fish out of water.
When I arrived at the Walnut Hill Lane studio (after I had climbed a rickety, terrifying set of stairs), I realized I was the youngest attendee there by several decades. Most of the women—no men—there looked to be about my mother’s age or older. Plus, it seemed like they were all regulars. Everyone knew everyone’s names. The ladies from the class before stuck around and chatted for a bit while we got started. I felt awkward. I wondered if they wondered, “why is this 20-something here? Why is she breaking up our routine?”
But everyone was friendly and welcoming. As I set up in the back of the room, as always, the instructor introduced me to the class. One woman gave me advice. A few others complimented my coat.
We were all there for an hour-long “cardio-sculpt” class. The cardio portion was your traditional jazzercise. From a small stage, the instructor led us through the exercises. Of course, there were many jazzy steps, like grapevines, step-ball-changes, shuffles, and jazz squares. I was surprised with how much hip shaking occurred. Most of our moves involved some sort of variation. We might add a hop or a kick at the end of an eight-count, or toss in a toe tap, for example. While we mostly stayed in place, we did move up and down the room quite a bit. The instructor offered modifications and also alternated between heavy-cardio routines and lower-energy combos so we could catch our breath, which I appreciated.
The last 20 or so minutes of class were dedicated to “sculpt,” which turned out to be strength training. We grabbed weights (they had plenty of options, thankfully) and a yoga mat from the wall. After we returned to our spots, the instructor led us through a series of small, isometric movements. I’m typically not great at strength training. I have a disability that impacts my strength, after all. But this was one of the first strength training workouts I’ve done where every exercise was within my ability. There were lunges, pliés, and bouncing in and out of positions, but we never raised our arms above our heads, which I can’t do. I didn’t really have to modify, and it was freeing.
I did have to modify, though, when we got to the pushups and crunches. I thought given the average age of the ladies, we could get out of this but nope! The instructor said we could do wall pushups, if necessary, but I decided to modify from the floor. We also did leg lifts, spiderman pushups, and countless crunches—I, as usual, did my best “fake it until you make it” attempt of these. We ended with stretching, which felt great after everything.
Despite my fish-out-of-water feelings, I had a good time during the class. The instructor cracked jokes, had us strike a pose at the end of every song, and even had us do our best “strut” walk. Also, her music choices were great. We started the class with Beyonce, and the playlist included Dua Lipa, Alessia Cara, and Harry Styles. Although the instructor did have to explain her One Direction joke to the class, “Watermelon, Sugar” turned out to be a great jazzercise song. My favorite moment, however, was when Pit Bull came on. It felt a bit out of place in a jazzercise class, just like me. But, like the class, it was fun, and it made my day.
Admittedly, this is not the prettiest gym I’ve ever been to. It has a no-nonsense dance studio feel to it—fluorescent lights, white fans, walls of equipment, hooks for personal belongings, a desk in the corner, and no mirrors. But I glimpsed a rocking chair in one of the smaller rooms, so there’s more to explore. And the music was awesome.
This class was not hard. The pace was manageable, as were all the moves and exercises. Plus, the instructor alternated fast-paced exercises with slower movements, which allowed us to catch our breaths. I did work up a sweat, though, and was somewhat tired at the end of it.
This class had people of all abilities in it, and it was refreshing to see how welcome that was. The instructor called out modifications as we went, but we were also free to do what we could and without critique. I appreciate how low-impact this class was. I didn’t have to worry about hurting or straining anything here. While I couldn’t do some of the crunches and pushups, I was able to do everything else, which is a first for me in this series.
The Cost of It All
Jazzercise, which has several North Texas locations, offers online classes and four in-person class types: cardio sculpt, power sculpt, sculpt, and cardio. A one-off class at this studio is $25, and unlimited monthly classes offerings begin at $99. New visitors can get two weeks of unlimited classes for $49. Download the app to pay for a class, but you don’t need to sign up for a session ahead of time.
Would I Go Back?
Yes, but I’d probably bring my mom.